SK, Slovenský ráj – Mladeze Nature Trail
The village of Smizany is situated in the district of Spisska Nova Ves. It a place from where you can get to Slovensky Raj (Slovak Paradise). There is an interesting fact about this village. It is one of the most populous villages in Slovensku without having the statut of a city. Socialist era didn't give it any good regarding architecture. Yet nature is amazing and there are true national gems.
You can get here by car, bus or train. Once you reach the village go to Smizanska Masa, a local cottage area. There starts Mladeze nature trail. It goes from Masa to Hradisko and Cingov. From there it continues through Pod Sovi skalou, across a green bridge back to Smizany. Note that you turn to another nature trail called Prulom Hornadu. It takes you to the greatest landmark in Slovensky Raj - Tomasovska vista. Then it goes through Hrdlo Hornadu by Letanovsky mill. But let's start gradually.
Slovenský ráj national park is situated in the southeast part of the Slovenske Rudohori mountains. It was declared a national park in 1988. It covers an area of 13 hecaters. Tourists travel here to see karst formations such as canyons or gorges. Water is what gives life to these formations. It flows in rivers, streams, and waterfalls. Deep forests cover the place. Couple of steps in you will feel like in a mystical forest sometimes veiled into mysterious fog. There are over 280 caves. Inside findings form the Prehistoric era were made. Thanks to local microclimate, many precious plant and animal species live here. There are over 2000 butterfly species, 300 kinds of mushrooms, 4000 invertebrates and 16 species of West-Carpathian endemisms ..
This is how we would briefly describe this natural gem. Let get back to Mladeze nature trail. There are many learn boards along it - about geology, archeology, fauna, flora, and social importance of the region. The trail is easy. You can walk it summer and winter. The maximum elevation is 120 meters. The first interesting stop is Cingovske Hradiste reserve. There are fascinating findings from the Stone Age, Bronze age and the era of the Great Moravia. Another interesting place is Owl Rock. This serves as a observation platform and also owls live there. Gradually, we encountered interesting art installation, spot of reverence, or open-air mineral exhibition. Soon we returned back to the civilization. We stepped on the area of Cingov. It is also a place of start for tourists. There are cottages and other accommodation facilities as well as buffets, restaurants, public fire place, and a mountain rescue station. Moreover, couple of marked tourist trails start here and lead to the northern part of Slovensky Raj. You can get to Cingov from Smizany or from Spisske Tomasovce as we did..
In Cingov we came upon decision to leave Mladeze nature trail. We would go further Prulom Hornadu. Next week you can learn more on our adventure.
GPS: (Smizanska Masa) 48°57'00.4"N 20°30'27.2"E
Text and photos: Oskár Mažgút
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